DBS is a technique in which a neurostimulator modulates the activity of specific brain regions with electrical impulses via two electrodes implanted in the brain. In this way, symptoms of neurological and psychiatric disorders can be suppressed. The operation, which takes a day, is performed by a neurosurgeon. Adequate setting of the stimulator, which can take days to months, is done by a neurologist or psychiatrist.
DBS is a complex treatment that is applied on a small scale (approximately 100 patients in the Netherlands per year, 45 of whom in the AMC) as a last resort, when other interventions prove ineffective. The conditions currently treated with DBS are obsessive-compulsive disorder and Parkinson’s. It is also used experimentally in people with severe chronic depression and eating disorders.